Master of Fine Arts

First Year Students

 

Walls

When I started college, I wanted to do a pre-law concentration. Willfully and happily, I abandoned the pursuit of a gilded life of high-profile casework for the zealous but humble life of a poet. I look forward to a long, fulfilling career in literature and education. 

    While getting my B.A. from Saint Louis University, I was fortunate enough to receive an A. J. Montesi Award for Creative Achievement, be published in our literary magazine Kiln, and perform two original pieces for The SLU Monologues in 2013 and 2014. The muses for my free-verse are the southern family model, gender and sexuality, and 'the tragic mulatta.' In addition to poetry, I also write non-fiction and fine grocery lists.

    When I'm not saving the world with a pen, I'm typically watching film adaptations of my favorite young adult novels and engaging in deep, philosophical dialogue with my best friend: a 14-year-old cat by the regal name of Kit-Kit Walls. She continues to be my most devoted reader.

--Victoria Walls


Whithaus

Fresh out of undergrad with a degree in creative writing and Small Press publishing from Southeast Missouri State University, Melanie Whithaus is currently earning her MFA in creative writing at University of Missouri – St Louis. Born and raised in the Midwest, her goal in life is to reach the coasts through her writing. Her work has been featured on websites such as deviantart.com and fanfiction.net, and her blog can be found athttp://melwhithaus.wordpress.com/. She has poetry published with Umbrella Factory Magazine, Scapegoat Review, and Luciferous webzine; short stories with Crack the Spine literary magazine, The Rusty Nail literary magazine, and Palaver Journal; and her debut chapbook, Enigma. Her writing is known for its raw, straight-forward voice, and her “no holds barred” style. She loves rabbits, cats, and grilled cheese. You can contact her atmwhithaus@gmail.com.


Vida

 

Myrta Vida is a proud Triton, having graduated from UMSL with a Double Major in Spanish (focus on Latin American Literature) and Interdisciplinary Studies, with Certificates in Creative Writing, Gender Studies, and Latin American Studies (2014). Born and raised in Puerto Rico, she is deeply committed to the exploration of Latino and gender issues in the mainland. Ms. Vida is a U.S. Army Veteran who worked as an award-winning, multi-discipline analyst, report writer, translator, and project manager for DoD for 12 years. She has also proudly served women- and minority-owned businesses as a freelance copywriter and copy editor for over six years. Although Ms. Vida’s first love is prose, she also dabbles in poetry, creative essays, and any other writing projects the powers that be place before her. She has been published in Litmag (21012) and is the winner of the 2013 Dr. Barbara A. Kachur Award for Undergraduate Creative Writing. Ms. Vida is beyond excited to be part of UMSL’s MFA program, has been awarded a teaching assistantship through its English Department, and is on a never-ending quest for the perfect use of the word ”pulchritude.”

 


Chapman

Rita Rouvalis Chapman received her B.A. in English Literature from The University of Massachusetts-Lowell and an M.Ed. in English Education from the University of Missouri-St. Louis.   Her poetry has appeared in a number of journals, but most recently on Lectores Coffee bags and in The Mojave River Review.  She has also edited several journals, including The Lowell Offering, The Lowell Review, and CORE, the first literary ‘zine on the internet.  She currently serves as the English Department Chair at Webster Groves High School.  When not grading student papers and writing poetry, she can usually be found riding her ex-racehorse, Metaphor.


Mayrose

Kathryn Mayrose holds a B.S. in English and a Creative Writing Certificate, both from Washington University - St. Louis. She currently works as a grants administrator for St. Louis County. When she is not writing fiction or reading absolutely anything, Kathryn enjoys spending time with her family.



Sadikovic

Maja Sadikovic's love of story telling started when she began talking, consistently driving her mother to the edges of insanity with all of the questions she had, about everything, from why does hair grow, and how are we alive, to mom, how come you don't know. Maybe many children were like that, but her mother didn't seem to think so. Needless to say, the questioning never stopped. She took her love of the unknown, the theory of prying, and used it as a catalyst to drive her writing. It was the discovery, the awe, she felt when interviewing people on various subjects, questioning deeper and pushing a little more, that she realized that people simply needed to know each others stories. "What greater gift do we have than each other?" she would say. It was then, the semester before she was to start Medical School, that she decided to pursue her life as a story teller, a poet.

 

She graduated from Saint Louis University majoring in English, minoring in Biology and obtaining a certificate in conservation and biodiversity in 2011. Until this year (2014) all of Maja's publications have been scholarly articles in scientific journals. Recently, her poem "Tracing" has been published in Currents Literary Arts magazine. She was a mentor to participants of America SCORES in Saint Louis and she taught English as a Foreign Language in Manisa, Turkey for three months, subsequently receiving a job offer in Sao Paulo, Brazil. There she lectured Biology to secondary school and English pronunciation to elementary school. She is happy to be back in the United States and even more so to be back in the classroom as the student, not the teacher.

 


After eight years teaching both English and Social Studies at the Middle School and High School levels, John Fournie is thrilled to join UMSL to focus on his fiction writing. John is interested in a variety of voices and stories, from the madness of a conquering emperor, to the experiences of an online-certified minister, to a father’s paranoia surrounding the sudden return of his estranged son. His story, “When We Were Younger,” published in NYU’s Anamesa, was inspired by his middle school students.